DR SVT 137 225 “Hamburg Design”
The VT 877a/b introduced a revolution in express passenger service on the German State Railroad (DRG). As the “Flying Hamburger”, this 160 km/h / 100 mph fast diesel powered rail car covered the 287 km / 179 mile long line Berlin – Hamburg for the first time in scheduled service on May 15, 1933 in only two hours and 18 minutes. This was a travel speed of 124.8 km/h / 78 mph. Building on the experiences with this powered rail car the DRG ordered 13 similar double powered rail cars as the “Hamburg” design (SVT 137 149-152 and 224-232). A slightly altered end shape as well as the installation of a Scharfenberg coupler were the most visible differences from the first “Hamburger." The car bodies for all the units were an aerodynamic lightweight steel design with rib construction. Powerful Maybach diesel motors of 302 kilowatts / 405 horsepower along with main generators were located in both end trucks. The drive was done with DC axle-suspended motors in the center Jakobs truck. These diesel powered rail cars learned to fly starting in 1935 and the DRG revolutionized its schedule with a unique network of fast powered rail car routes. The unfortunately short-lived era of the famous “Flying Trains” had begun. From Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt/Main, Basle, Stuttgart, Munich, Breslau, and even Beuthen were now reached in addition to Hamburg. The express powered rail car service ended with the beginning of the war. After the end of the war, these attractive express powered rail cars were scattered to the four winds. Two “Hamburger” trains found themselves after 1945 in the area of the later GDR. SVT 137 226 was no longer in operation and the DR converted SVT 137 225 into a salon powered rail car train by February 1951/52. It was thus available for use by important bigwigs in the GDR Transportation Ministry until October 1981. Designated as a museum unit, it began its second career in which it was allowed in the summer of 1985 with official GDR “Excursion Permission” to take part in the anniversary exhibition “150 Years of Railroading in Germany” in Nürnberg. After the reunification of Germany, SVT 137 225 was given one more overhaul and was restored to its original elegant beige/violet paint scheme. It is no longer operational and can be admired on the museum track in the Leipzig Main Station.